Agreed Framework

From Academic Kids

The Agreed Framework was signed on October 21, 1994 between North Korea (DPRK) and the United States. The agreement largely broke-down by 2003. The main provisions of the agreement were:

  • DPRK's graphite-moderated nuclear power plants, which could easily produce weapons grade plutonium, would be replaced with light water reactor (LWR) power plants.
  • Oil for heating and electricity production would be provided while DPRK's reactors were shut down.
  • The two sides would move toward full normalization of political and economic relations.
  • The U.S. would provide formal assurances to the DPRK, against the threat or use of nuclear weapons by the U.S.
  • The DPRK would take steps to implement the Korean Peninsula Denuclearization Declaration.
  • The DPRK would remain a party to the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty.
  • IAEA ad hoc and routine inspections would resume for facilities not subject to the freeze.
  • Before delivery of key LWR nuclear components, the DPRK would come into full compliance with its safeguards agreement with the IAEA.

The pact is neither a treaty subject to Senate approval nor a contract, but more of a memorandum of understanding between the two countries. It was signed in the wake of North Korea's abandonment of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty and a military buildup by the United States near the country.

Missing image
A satellite photo of East Asia at night illustrates the limited electric power generating capacity of North Korea in contrast to that of the neighboring countries.

Terms of the pact and consequent agreements included the shutdown of the Yongbyon nuclear reactor, abandoning the construction of two new nuclear power plants, and placing of spent fuel which could have been reprocessed to create plutonium for a nuclear weapon under IAEA controls. In exchange two light water reactors would be constructed in North Korea by 2003 at a cost of $4 billion, primarily supplied by Japan and South Korea. In the interim, North Korea would be supplied with 500,000 tons of heavy fuel oil annually, at no cost, to make up for lost energy production. When the LWR plants were completed, North Korea would dismantle its other nuclear reactors and associated facilities.

The Korean Peninsula Energy Development Organization, or KEDO, is a consortium of the United States, South Korea, Japan, and various other states that is responsible for carrying out the 1994 U.S.-North Korea nuclear pact.

There were increasing disagreement between North Korea and U.S. on the scope and implementation of the treaty. When by 1999 economic sanctions had not been lifted and full diplomatic relations between U.S. and North Korea had not been established, North Korea warned that they would resume nuclear research unless the U.S. kept up its end of the bargain. U.S. has repeatedly stated that further implementation would be stalled as long as suspicions remained that the North Korean nuclear weapons research program continued covertly.

Construction of the first reactor began in August 2002. Construction of both reactors is well behind schedule. The initial plan was for both reactors to be operational by 2003, but the construction had been halted indefinitely in late 2002.

In October 2002, a U.S. delegation to North Korea accused it of continuing its nuclear weapons development. North Korea took strong exception to the charge, claiming that its interpretation of the framework allowed it to continue programs other than those identified in the agreement. However, North Korea did not state explicitly that it was pursuing nuclear weapons. Relations between the two countries, which had seemed hopeful two years earlier, quickly deteriorated into open hostility. North Korea finally declared that it had nuclear weapons in February 2005.

KEDO members considered in November 2002 whether to halt the fuel oil shipments in response to the previous month's developments. U.S. Assistant Secretary of State James Kelly warned Japanese officials that the U.S. Congress would not fund such shipments in the face of continued violations. The shipments were halted in December.

In December 2003, KEDO suspended work on the pressurized water reactor project. Subsequently KEDO shifted the focus of its efforts to ensuring that the LWR project assets at the construction site in North Korea and at manufacturers’ facilities around the world ($1.5 billion invested to date) are preserved and maintained.

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